Lunchtime poll – a side of heartbreak
February 21st, 2011
12:30 PM ET
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"So, when you said just a few minutes ago that you love me, you were LYING TO ME?!?"

I tried not to eavesdrop - at first. My back was to the troubled couple and in the mostly empty dining room, absent a dining companion of my own, there was nothing to buffer the breakup. I'd been feeling sorry for myself. A weekend frolic with my husband in New Orleans was thwarted by sudden emergency surgery for one of our dogs. Not only did he have to stay put in Brooklyn - I couldn't get back to be with my family because exorbitant change fees atop an $1173 vet bill was economically unfeasible.

At least I wasn't getting dumped at a restaurant.

Oh, I've been kicked to the curb at a variety of locales - my apartment, a Chinatown park, over the phone, via e-mail, once, an actual curb - but never a restaurant. It's a classic for a reason: it's semi-neutral ground, the cast-off party is less likely to cause a scene, there's probably booze. A good server will probably leave you alone. They've seen it before and they're well aware of what's going on . Everyone around you is - and like it or not, they're choosing sides and lingering over coffee to see how it shakes out.

Our waiter knew the score. He sees this happen about four times a year and he gives the unhappy couple a close eye (lest they suddenly need the check, tissues, a police escort...) and a wide berth. Chances are that only one of the two of them was planning for the night to turn out like this and the other might end up in need of a cab home or a comped Cabernet at the bar.

For the record they left, somberly, after a prolonged silence. I finally got a look at their faces - hers stoic, his tear-stained. They were holding hands as they rounded the corner, but it was more than evident - a sweet ending was not on the menu for either of them tonight.

Share your tales of dining and dating in the comments below. We're here for you.

p.s. My dog made it through and is resting comfortably at home, in case you're interested.

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Filed under: Buzz • Culture • Dating • Lunchtime Poll

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soundoff (150 Responses)
  1. penelope

    Yes, It happened to me during college. The guy took me on what was planned to be a very special date. We drove about two hours to visit with his parents... then ice skating... then to a famous rib restaurant we'd always wanted to try. He dumped me just as the food was served. Of course I had to excuse myself to the ladies room to vomit.... and then spend another two plus hours on the drive home trapped in his car. But then again... he was cheating on me.... so good riddance.

    August 8, 2013 at 9:23 pm |
  2. Christy

    There was a restaurant in my home town that was the notorious break up spot for people. It was a great Mexican place, food was awesome, so were the drinks...anyway, I'd seen 3 to 5 couples break up there, (I was a regular). One that stands out is a couple where the man was doing the dumping, (their booth was directly across the walkway from mine and my friend's), and she yelled at him for doing this to her in public. He asked her to calm down and not make a scene, and she said, "If you didn't want me to make a scene, you shouldn't have brought me HERE!" They argued quietly, then the food came. They both poked it around their plates but didn't actually eat, then left. He had the gall to try and put his arm around her waist/small of her back as they walked away, and she totally shrugged him off and said loudly, "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?"

    February 23, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
  3. elvin

    I dont understand why people would break up at a restaurant. I would feel really akward. Do you do it before or after the meal? Then who picks up the tab because I sure wouldnt want to if someone broke up with me. Yea kind of akward....

    February 23, 2011 at 9:49 am |
  4. SilentBoy741

    "A weekend frolic ... was thwarted by sudden emergency surgery for one of our dogs."

    That's amazing. I can't even get my dog to poop outside, and yours does surgery!? Now that's where the *real* article is.

    February 23, 2011 at 2:34 am |
  5. GoodStuff

    Yes, I did the breaking up w/ a non-committal slacker and my classic parting line (before storming out) was, "oh, and you can finish my margarita". Still makes me laugh today.

    February 23, 2011 at 1:11 am |
  6. Dr. Jack Brown

    I am a Body Language Expert. I have seen people break up at restaurants more times than I can count. It's an extremely common place to end relationships.

    February 23, 2011 at 12:59 am |
  7. Cozmo

    A few year ago I listened to a guy tell the his date he would only be able to see her only Tuesday – Thursday. And he would be seeing someone else Friday – Sunday. He was saving Monday for himself. Must have been when MNF was interesting.

    February 22, 2011 at 11:41 pm |
  8. cyraxote

    I was broken up with in the same Sizzler twice, by the same person, a year and a half apart. I didn't see it coming the first time, but I did the second and engineered it mainly to give myself something to be amused by...

    February 22, 2011 at 6:45 pm |
    • cyraxote

      Oh, and I forgot: the first break-up was on Valentine's Day.

      February 22, 2011 at 6:52 pm |
  9. Amitzah

    @ Evil Grin Breaking up with someone is never easy especially for the one who is getting dumped, but your post I'm sure made a lot of people smile, it shows that they're are still gentlemen around.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
    • Evil Grin

      Aw, shucks.

      February 22, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
  10. Chuck

    I had been going out with this girl for two weeks when I met the woman who would later become my wife. I didn't think it would be a big deal to breakup after only two weeks. I took her to my favorite local restaurant and gave her the bad news before the food got there. She went berserk, yelling and screaming and calling me names. I took it quietly. She calmed down after a few minutes. Amazingly, she still wanted to eat dinner. After dinner, I gave her a ride home and never saw her again. I also did not go back to that restaurant for a few months.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
  11. scott

    Once when working as a waiter, had a man dump his wife. She tried to stay as dignified as possible.

    The next night, at the same table, the guy brought in his girlfriend and celebrated with champagne.

    February 22, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
    • Jdizzle McHammerpants


      See that in banking, too. Husband cleans out account, leaves wife, shows up next day to open new account. Wants to add girlfriend to it.


      February 22, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
      • billy

        What kind of moron adds any woman to their bank account?

        February 22, 2011 at 7:41 pm |
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